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The Culture of Journalism: Values, Ethics, and Democracy Chapter 13.

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Presentation on theme: "The Culture of Journalism: Values, Ethics, and Democracy Chapter 13."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Culture of Journalism: Values, Ethics, and Democracy Chapter 13

2 “Journalism is the only media enterprise that democracy absolutely requires—and is the only media practice and business specifically protected by the U.S. Constitution.”

3 Newsworthiness Criteria Timeliness Issues or events that are new or timely Proximity Events that occur in a community Conflict Stories that display opposing views Prominence Stories that feature powerful or influential people Human interest Extraordinary incidents that happen to “ordinary” people

4 Newsworthiness Criteria (cont.) Consequence Stories that affect a majority of readers Usefulness Stories that provide a service Novelty Events happening outside daily routine Deviance Stories that deviate from social norms, like crimes

5 Values in American Journalism Neutrality Inverted pyramid, attribution of sources, detached third-person point of view Ethnocentrism Judging other cultures by how “they live up to or imitate American practices and values” Responsible capitalism Assuming purpose of business is “to create increased prosperity for all”

6 Values in American Journalism (cont.) Small-town pastoralism Favoring rural over urban, small town over city to flavor stories Individualism Focusing on individuals who have overcome personal adversity while ignoring larger social or historical context

7 Ethical Predicaments Deploying deception Absolutist ethics: moral society has laws and codes Situational ethics: decisions made on a case-by-case basis Invading privacy “The public’s right to know” vs. person’s right to privacy

8 Ethical Predicaments (cont.) Conflicts of interest Situations where a journalist may benefit personally from a story he or she produces To avoid, journalists usually refrain from participating in politics, social causes

9 Resolving Ethical Dilemmas Great philosophers can help make decisions Aristotle The golden mean: middle ground between extreme positions Immanuel Kant Categorical imperative; Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you Jeremy Bentham & John Stuart Mill Greatest good for the greatest number: When possible, make a decision that benefits the most people

10 Reporting Rituals Focusing on the present Treating events as momentary sensations Getting a good story primary concern Getting a story first, before others Pack journalism Relying on experts Using experts to lend balance, credibility (positive) Using experts to support angle, create conflict (negative)

11 Reporting Rituals (cont.) Creating and balancing story conflict Reducing “multiple sides” to two sides Using conflict to sell news Using third-person, all-knowing point of view to create illusion of neutrality Acting as adversaries Using tough, “gotcha” questions to confront wrongdoers Placing reporter in middle between “us” (readers) and “them” (our leaders)

12 Print, TV and Internet News Ads seem more intrusive on TV than print Differing source of credibility Print derives credibility from apparent neutrality TV credibility based on live, on-the-spot reporting from personable journalist Differences lessen in Internet Age TV reporters write for web Print reporters carry digital cameras

13 TV News Differences Strategy Pretty faces News anchors are young, attractive, pleasant, with little or no regional accent Happy talk Ad-libbed or scripted banter among news anchors Strategy becoming dated Used less often in Internet journalism

14 Adapting to the Internet Journalists can continually update stories Stories augmented by audio, video, extra information like complete interviews Information can spread farther and faster Downsides include: Interviews often conducted via Journalists unwittingly plagiarize Journalists tied to desks, not out in community Increased convergence demands on journalists

15 Alternative Model: Public Journalism Accepts broader mission of improving public life Grows less detached, more participatory in public life Suggests policy alternatives Views public as actors arriving at democratic solutions to public problems Did not transform journalism, but changed role of some in audience to be participants

16 Alternative Model: Fake News Satirical shows with roots in sketch comedy Uses stories that sound truthful to reveal how political leaders try to manipulate media and public opinion Exposes hypocrisy by showing inconsistencies Skewers news media’s often superficial treatment of politics Mocks formulas used by real TV news

17 Journalism in a Democratic Society Journalism provides information for citizens Journalists fight for the basic tenets of the profession freedom of press, public’s right to know, objectivity Some say journalists must also be activists Public journalism Internet could pave way for more diverse, media-literate coverage


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